A works 1964 Benelli 250cc GP motorcycle that two-time World Champion Tarquinio Provini rode to victory at the 1964 Spanish GP went for £149,500 at the Bonhams 2020 Summer Sale at Bicester Heritage in England. Part of the famed Morbidelli Museum collection, the factory Benelli sold for well over its expected sale range of £80,000 to £120,000.
Provini successfully raced this Benelli 250 in four rounds in 1964, on his way to P5 in the final 1964 250cc Grand Prix Road-Racing World Championship standings. In addition to his win at the Montjuïc circuit in Barcelona, Provini took a P4 at the Dutch TT at Assen. Provini scored two P5 finishes in 1964. The first was at the Belgium GP at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. He repeated the feat at the following round at the West Germany GP at Solitude, one position behind Moto Morini mounted Giacomo Agostini. The legendary Phil Read won the 1964 250cc GP title on a Yamaha.
The 1964 Benelli GP bike was painted iron-grey, as the factory desired that the motorcycle be perceived to be as fast as a cannonball. Benelli started developing this four-cylinder Grand Prix racer in 1960, with it finally debuting in April 1962 at a non-GP event Imola with Silvio Grassetti aboard. The four-cylinder Benelli works bike’s career ended in 1965, by which time it had accumulated an eight-speed gearbox. However, it wasn’t enough to hold back the legendary Mike Hailwood on the iconic six-cylinder Honda RC166 six-cylinder 249cc machine.
After the factory Benelli 250 was retired from GP racing, Marco Benelli—son of Benelli motorcycle founder Giuseppe Benelli—took the engine from the racebike and used it for street riding. Eventually, Giancarlo Morbidelli bought the motor along with the chassis from Benelli. Morbidelli sent the motorcycle to the Morbidelli Museum for restoration. Adding a personal touch, the Morbidelli took the job of fabricating the exhaust system.
The 2020 Bonhams Summer Sale featured many Morbidelli Museum motorcycles, with this Benelli fetching the highest final sale price.